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  • 05/06/16--12:02: Sailor Moon at the Library
  • Sailor Moon  is the story of a young girl named Usagi Tsukino. She has incredible powers and must fight to protect the world. In her journey she meets the rest of the Sailor Guardians: Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Jupiter. Usagi also befriends Tuxedo Mask and a talking cat named Luna.

    I grew up watching Sailor Moon and it was such an entertaining and hilarious TV show. Also, the ending of each episode always had a positive message. 


    1. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 1
    2. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 2
    3. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 3
    4. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 4
    5. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 5
    6. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 6
    7. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 7
    8. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 8
    9. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 9
    10. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 10
    11. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 11
    12. Pretty Guardian, Sailor Moon 12


    1. Sailor Moon. Season 1, part 1
    2. Sailor Moon. Season 1, part 2

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    The peak season of professional horse racing breaks from the gate this Saturday at 6:24PM, after the bugle sounds and 20 thoroughbreds contend nose-to-nose down to the wire for the 142ndKentucky Derby, at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. The Derby is the first race in the Triple Crown, and has been the apogee of the turf since 1875, the oldest continuously-held pro sporting event in the United States, preceding the first Westminster Dog Show by two years.  

    Lincoln Cabin

    Kentucky is the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln, and the First Lady of Country Music, Loretta Lynn. As Kentucky horse farms bred prize colts like Citation and legendary fillies like Ruffian, the state, too, provided the stables of Hollywood with actors like Johnny Depp, Ashley Judd, George Clooney, Ashley Judd, Harry Dean Stanton, Ashley Judd, and manjack scene-chewer Charles Napier.  

    Likely the “Greatest” Kentuckian of the Baby Boomer generation is Muhammad Ali, born and raised in Louisville. 

    Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County, is the home of Keeneland racetrack, and the dominion of Big Blue Nation, where the college basketball squad for the University of Kentucky is abided with the primeval and prepossessed credence of a Neo-pythagorean. Lexington is often called the “Horse Capital of the World"; at one time, Central Kentucky bred and sold horses for sport and transportation the way Detroit built cars.  “Long before the mid-nineteenth century, Americans recognized that the strongest, fastest racehorses came from the Bluegrass region.” In 1876, General Custer rode to his last rewards at the hands of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors on the back of an ex-racehorse the General had acquired from a Lexington stud farm.

    Man O' War

    The first Kentucky Derby was hosted by the grandson of archetypal trekker-of-the-frontier William Clark, but who was named after Clark’s co-adventurer, Meriwether Lewis.  “M. L. ‘Lutie’ Clark, a dapper and physically imposing man with slicked-down hair and a flower habitually in his lapel, imagined the Kentucky Derby as an event on a grand scale from the beginning.”  The event finds forebears in an English sporting tradition,  but is located in a state filled with towns and cities named for French places, like Versailles, Paris, La Grange, LaFayette, and Louisville, after French Bourbon King Louis XVI, located in Jefferson County, named after the bibliognost polymath yeoman of early American statecraft, and infamous Francophile. The betting protocol at Churchill Downs is known as pari-mutuel, or “mutual bet” in the City of Lights.

    Pari-Mutuel Machine Prior to Electronic Totalisator

    The race is famous for the wearing of lavish hats by railbirds in fine frippery and julep-quaffing maidens in the grandstands.  The mint julep is the official cocktail of the Derby, made with that indigenous distilled and barrel-aged potation of Kentucky, bourbon whiskey. Local lore and hydrogeology affirm the unique richness of limestone that constitutes bluegrass water, in springs, streams, and groundwater, and which forms the key element in the alchemy of what was known in the days of keelboatmen and Shawnee raiders as “western whiskey.” 

    The standout horse trade of the region has also relied on this aqueous singularity. Prior to the 1792 inaugural meeting of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, by over 400 million years, in the Ordovician Period of Earth’s adolescence, the bulk of land above the equator was under water:

    Surging seas swept over this shallow shelf, bringing with them the millions of invertebrates that left behind a precious natural gift, their fossilized shells, which gave rise through the millennia to a particular form of limestone rock, the building block that horsemen have long believed is critical to raising a strong-boned racehorse.”

    Indeed, in Louisville, a contending standout landmark with Churchill Downs is the commanding 19th century Doric totem of the Water Tower.

    Seeing Louisville 1937 pamphlet

    The original ten branches of the Louisville Free Public Library System, established in 1905 by the nationwide endowment initiatives of Andrew Carnegie, included the first public library in America devoted to African-American patrons. In 1908, the library reported packed crowds for the Children’s Reading Club; a high use of books on law, theology, and medicine by black students of the Medical College and University of Louisville; and 288 reference questions answered in the month of January. As noted by a 1976 American Libraries article, in 1922, “more books per capita were read in Louisville black communities than in any white community in the South.” Rev. Thomas F. Blue, the head of what was known until 1948 as the “Colored Department,” pioneered library science training before the first official library school for African-Americans opened in Hampton, Virginia, in 1924.

    Kentucky sided with the Union in the Civil War, but remained a slaveholding state. "Americans of that era did not readily view Kentucky as Southern," Maryjean Wall says in the introduction to How Kentucky Became Southern.  "Neither did all Kentuckians."  Lexington had acquired the nickname, "Athens of the West," as distinct from Nashville, the "Athens of the South," even though Lexington is over two hundred miles northeast from Music City, U.S.A. Louisville is described in the folksay of regional America as either the southernmost city in the north or the northernmost city in the south.

    Old Kaintuck

    These intricacies are typically misapprehended, if at all, by the blinkered perspective of New Yorkers, who enjoy citing ignorance of anything west of the Hudson River, including the state of New Jersey; pride in this provincial elitism is epitomized by tireless rehashings of Saul Steinberg’s 1976 View of the World From 9th Avenue. The Big Apple (a turf-inspired nickname) is a city of almost nine million people because the population is constituted in parts by Americans from all 50 states.  Some of such folk, on Saturday, will be dressed in seersucker or baroque millinery and cheering for their horse to finish in the money.     


    • Noncatalogued Local History Collections, NYPL Milstein Division
    • Postcard Collection, NYPL Milstein Division
    • Project Muse
    • America’s Historical Newspapers
    • JSTOR 
    • The Kentucky Encyclopedia

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    King Teleservices  will present a recruitment on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 10 am - 1 pm, for 311 Operator  (15  Bilingual  English/Spanish openings) at the New York State Department of Labor - Workforce 1 Career Center, 250 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. 

    New Partners, Inc. will present a recruitment on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 10 am - 1:30 pm for Home Health Aide  (5 F/T & P/T openings) at  the Flushing Workforce 1 Career Center, 138-60 Barclay Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing , NY 11355.

    Job Postings at New York City Workforce 1.  

    affiche le pour

    Brooklyn Community  Board 14: Available jobs

    The New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCE&TC) is an association of 200 community-based organizations, educational institutions, and labor unions that annually provide job training and employment services to over 750,000 New Yorkers, including welfare recipients, unemployed workers, low-wage workers, at-risk youth, the formerly incarcerated, immigrants and the mentally and physically disabled. View NYCE&TC Job Listings.

    Digital NYC is the official online hub of the New York City startup and technology ecosystem, bringing together every company, startup, investor, event, job, class, blog, video, workplace, accelerator, incubator, resource, and organization in the five boroughs. Search jobs by category on this site.

    St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development provides Free Job Training and Educational Programs in Environmental Response and Remediation Tec (ERRT). Commercial Driver's License, Pest Control Technician Training (PCT), Employment Search and Prep Training and Job Placement, Earn Benefits and Career Path Center. For information and assistance, please visit St. Nicks Alliance Workforce Development or call 718-302-2057 ext. 202.

    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations helps jobless and working poor New Yorkers establish careers in sectors that offer good wages and opportunities for advancement. Currently, BWI offers free job training programs in four industries: commercial driving, telecommunications cable installation, TV and film production, and skilled woodworking.

    CMP (formerly Chinatown Manpower Project) in lower Manhattan is now recruiting for a free training in Quickbooks, Basic Accounting, and Excel. This training is open to anyone who is receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Class runs for eight weeks, followed by one-on-one meetings with a job developer. CMP also provides Free Home Health Aide Training for bilingual English/Cantonese speakers who are receiving food stamps but no cash assistance. Training runs Mondays through Fridays for six weeks and includes test prep and taking the HHA certification exam. Students learn about direct care techniques such as taking vital signs and assisting with personal hygiene and nutrition. For more information for the above two training programs, email:, call 212-571-1690, or visit. CMP also provides tuition-based healthcare and business trainings free to students who are entitled to ACCESS funding.

    Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) trains women and places them in careers in the skilled construction, utility, and maintenance trades. It helps women achieve economic independence and a secure future. For information call 212-627-6252 or register online.

    Grace Institute provides tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different backgrounds. For information call 212-832-7605.

    Please note this page will be revised when more recruitment events for the week of May 8 become available.

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    White knuckles and pounding hearts top the chart this week, with two thrillers in the two top spots and three romances rounding out the rest of the list.

    extreme prey

    #1 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Extreme Prey by John Sandford, more dark political thrillers:

    I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter

    Zero Day by David Baldacci

    The 14th Colony by Steve Berry




    last mile

    #2 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Last Mile by David Baldacci, more intricately plotted suspense:

    Broken Monstersby Lauren Beukes

    Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

    Those Who Wish Me Deadby Michael Koryta




    me before you

    #3 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, more British love stories:

    Other People's Childrenby Joanna Trollope

    One Day by David Nicholls

    The House We Grew Up Inby Lisa Jewell




    fire bound

    #4 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed Fire Boundby Christine Feehan, more steamy paranormal romance:

    Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

    Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

    Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl





    #5 Recommendations for readers who enjoyed The Obsession by Nora Roberts, more suspense/romance blends:

    The Seventh Victimby Mary Burton

    Copper Beachby Jayne Ann Krentz

    The First Prophet by Kay Hooper




    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!


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  • 05/09/16--11:05: Uprisings
  • Harper's Magazine recently ran a column by Rebecca Solnit entitled "The Habits of Highly Cynical People."  In the piece, Solnit talks about "naive cynicism" which she defines as a mindset that "bleeds the sense of possibility and maybe the sense of responsibility out of people." 

    When Occupy Wall Street began five years ago, the movement was mocked, dismissed, and willfully misunderstood before it was hastily pronounced dead. Its obituary has been written dozens of times over the years by people who’d prefer that the rabble who blur the lines between the homeless and the merely furious not have a political role to play.
    The inability to assess what OWS accomplished comes in part from the assumption that historical events either produce straightforward, quantifiable, immediate results, or they fail to matter. It’s as though we’re talking about bowling: either that ball knocked over those pins in that lane or it didn’t. But historical forces are not bowling balls. (Solnit, Rebecca. "The Habits of HIghly Cynical People." Harper's Magazine. May 2016) 

    In response to Solnit's thoughtful piece, here is a list of books about some recent uprisings that may one day, in retrospect, be viewed as the tipping point for significant social and political change.

    Arab Spring

    Occupy Wall Street

    Black Lives Matter

    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    We are not quite half way through the year, and already 2016 is offering a feast of exceptional middle grade fiction. Here are a few NYPL staff favorites:

    It ain't so awful falafel

    It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

    An Iranian immegration story set in the 70s -80s during the hostage crisis. Iranian history is woven throughout, but at its heart is a young girl, with an authentic voice, trying to navigate the social structures of middle school in a new country. 






    The last fifth grade of emerson elementary

    The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan 

    Emerson Elementary is scheduled to be bulldozed to make way for a shopping mall. The 5th graders assignment is to keep a poetry novel that will be placed in a time capsule. A novel in verse, told from multiple perspectives. 







    raymie nightingale

    RaymieNightingale by Kate DiCamillo

    Raymie attempts to win back her estranged father by entering beauty contest, but she needs to find a talent. A very special novel for lovers of Flora & Ulysses.  






    My Life With Liars

    My Life With the Liars by Caela Carter

    Zylynn grows up in a cult and she is quite satisfied with her life there. Just before she turns 13 she is taken away from the cult by a man who claims to be her father. Now, she is faced with deciding if she wants to stay and adjust to life on the outside or return to the cult. 






    Far from Fair

    Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold 

    Not fair! Odette is on a roadtrip with her family in an RV, driving cross country to visit Grandma Sissy. NOTE: Deals with terminal illness and the right to die. 






    Pilfer Academy

    Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It's Criminal by Lauren Magaziner

    For fans of Roald Dahl. Naughty George gets kidnapped by the Pilfer Academy and learns he is not so naughty after all. A fun romp of a novel. 






    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    Subscribe on iTunes.

    Recently at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, President Barack Obama joked about Spotlight and the primaries. He made a video with former Speaker of the House John Boehner. But there was one thing he said with full seriousness. "I don't have a joke here," Obama said. "I just think Helen Mirren is awesome." We agree. For this week's episode of the New York Public Library Podcast, we're proud to present Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren discussing getting better roles, seeing summer movies, and breathing through Shakespeare.

    Helen Mirren LIVE from the NYPL
    Helen Mirren LIVE from the NYPL

    Despite her decorated career, Mirren did not go to the movies often as a young person. Later, she began going to see films while working at a bed and breakfast:

    "I didn’t go to the films, the movies or films when I was young, mostly for financial reasons, we, you know, we couldn’t afford to go, and so and also the films that showed in Southend-on-Sea, you know, were just fifth-run, you know, horrible, horrible Hollywood, fifties Hollywood movies, and if I did accidentally go once, I found it so boring and uninteresting. So it wasn’t until I—sorry—I worked as a waitress in my aunt’s bed-and-breakfast in Brighton, and I did the breakfasts and then I had the day to myself. And it was raining, as it usually is in England in the summertime, and there was this cinema and I went in just because it was a way of getting out of the rain, and the film that was showing was L’Avventura by Antonioni, and I’d never seen a movie like that before, and I was like with it was my other great transformative moment was seeing L’Avventura like a revelation of what film could be and from that moment I saw every sort of foreign film I could possibly see and working as an usherette at the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead, which is a sort of quite a famous art cinema, I don’t know if it still is, I think it still is actually. Was a great way of seeing for free, you know, a lot of great movies."

    Some of Mirren's most memorable roles have been in Shakespearean works. She spoke about the challenges of acting in Shakespeare's plays:

    "[P]laying Shakespeare clarifies the struggle for you because you have this great requirement of technique, vocal technique, breath, technique of breath, again combined with this difficult language that you’re trying to negotiate your way through in a way that’s understandable for the audience and yet at the same time make it psychologically true and as well as all of that, making it completely, reinventing it each time you come to it. There was a very great Shakespearean actor called Alan Howard, and I was lucky enough to be in the company at the same time he was, and he had that ability, not every night, but sometimes, he had an extraordinary voice and an incredible ability with the language. And I’d watch him play the same scene many, many, many, many times and often he would just turn a line in a new way that you’d never heard before... That’s what you yearn for and fight for as a classical actor."

    In response to a question about ageing as an actress, Mirren spoke of the availability of interesting roles and the importance of finding roles for women outside the stage:

    "I think the reality of it is if you’re lucky enough to still be working, and that’s another issue, but if you are lucky enough to still be working then actually the roles, actually become, are so much more interesting. The roles that I’m playing now are so much more interesting than the roles I played when I was twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, you know. But there is a regret absolutely. Certain Shakespeare roles I will never play. I will never play Juliet, I never played Juliet, and I would have loved to have played her. You know, I would have loved to have played Beatrice, and those roles, you can get away wit ha lot more in the theater, luckily. No, but I have always said, and I still say it, don’t worry about roles for women in the theater or in film or television. Worry about roles for women in real life and put your energy into encouraging those, because as night follows day, the more inclusive women are in the real world, the better the roles will be in drama and certainly that’s sort of proved to be true."

    You can subscribe to the New York Public Library Podcast to hear more conversations with wonderful artists, writers, and intellectuals. Join the conversation today!

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  • 05/10/16--07:24: Join the Gracie Book Club
  • Bright Lines

    The Gracie Book Club is a joint effort between the Gracie Mansion Conservancy and First Lady Chirlane McCray to "foster conversation on a curated selection of literary works and make the spirit of Gracie Mansion, the People’s House, more accessible to more New Yorkers." The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library systems have made extra copies of Bright Lines available in every branch.

    Come and join us for a live video feed of the Gracie Book Club discussion on Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam at one of our local libraries and participate in the virtual discussion. These events are open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

    Gracie Mansion Book Discussion Live Feed May 17 from 6–8 PM

    Bronx Library Center
    310 Kingsbridge Road, Bronx, NY 10458

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    455 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

    St. George Library Center
    5 Central Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305

    Or you can participate in a group book discussion at one of our local libraries:


    Muhlenberg Library
    209 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
    Tuesday, May 17 at 5:30 PM

    Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral Library
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022
    Friday, May 20 at 5:15 PM

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    455 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016
    Wednesday, May 25 at 2 PM

    The Bronx

    Hunt's Point Library
    877 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10459
    Thursday, May 26 at 3:30 PM

    Parkchester Library
    1985 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463
    Wednesday, June 22 at 11 AM

    Spuyten Duyvil Library
    650 West 235th Street, Bronx, NY 10463
    Tuesday, June 14 at 1 PM

    Staten Island

    South Beach Library
    21-25 Robin Road, Staten Island, NY 10305
    Wednesday, June 22 at 11 AM

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    Inspired by Book Riot’s recent post, “​If We See These Books On Your Shelves, We Should Probably Be Friends,” we asked our NYPL book experts,

     "What's a book that—upon seeing it on someone's shelf—makes you think you've found a kindred spirit?"

    Here’s what they said. Librarian BFFs, coming right up!

    Charlie, Inwood
    Chasity, Ask NYPL
    Melanie, Research
    Morgan, Aguilar



    If I spot the Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne on your bookshelf, I know that we can ride bikes and listen to the Talking Heads together—the foundation of a very good friendship. —Charlie Radin, Inwood

    The Autobiography of Malcolm X because it is just so good! Someone who has read it outside of school and truly understands it is more than worth my time. You literally get into the mind of one of the greatest activists of our time. I love that as you read you get to see his transition from a person of anger to one of compassion and seeking change through working together. One thing that stands out and holds true throughout is his intelligence and perceptiveness, which is truly inspiring. —Chasity Moreno, Ask NYPL

    A book that would make my heart sing to see on someone’s shelf is Love Is a Mix Tape.  It was the first book I bought when I moved to New York.  I had no friends and I would read that book in the park and majorly get the feels (a.k.a “drunk in the bathtub face,” as Jenna Maroney would say). —Melanie Locay, Research

    I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Adults, students and strangers alike have been subject to my book talking and promoting this amazing book about this amazing girl. The ability to go to school every day is something we have all taken for granted and Malala brings attention to the plight of women’s education. —Morgan O’Reilly, Aguilar


    Rebecca, Kingsbridge


    I fell in love with Caribbean fiction as an undergrad, so if I see anything on your shelf like Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones or Loida Maritza Perez’s Geographies of Home, it will strike up an immediate conversation. The literature represents the deep thread of mysticism and enchantment that permeates Caribbean culture and lifestyle. —Sherise Pagan, Grand Concourse

    I may know a kindred spirit in New York if I saw A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith on your bookshelf. This is not because it is my favorite book. Rather, I read it in 8th or 9th grade, and it was the first book that connected me to the land I was growing up in (Central Florida). It gave me a sense of understanding for how the community around me had developed and something to daydream about while staring across vast flat swampland when driving from Cocoa to Orlando. —Jessica Cline, Mid-Manhattan

    Keep the River on Your Right by Tobias Schneebaum. No other book (fiction or non) that takes place in a jungle has ever placed me inside the jungle in so real and immediate a fashion. Also the way in which the author embraces the cannibalistic natives that he meets, lives with, and writes about is very humanistic and made me want to go live with them myself. —Melisa Tien, Library of the Performing Arts

    Definitely Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. I’m a U.S. president history junkie, and when this book came out, I was in heaven. Vowell takes the macabre theme of presidential assassinations and makes it informative and funny! —Rebecca Kluberdanz, Kingsbridge


    Leslie, Mott Haven
    Chantalle, Francis Martin
    Joshua, Spuyten Duyvil
    Susen, Mid-Manhattan

    Fairy Tales & Fantasy

    The Princess Bride by William Goldman. One of my favorite movies and I like the book even more. I absolutely adored this book when I younger and even sent my father on a three-month wild goose chase for the “original” by S. Morgenstern. If I see you reading the book, I’m almost guaranteed to talk your ear off about how much I love it. —Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven

    If I saw Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce sitting on your shelf, we would have be friends, because her books are responsible for most of my friendships. Alanna and her brother about to be split up so that they might grow to become fine nobles. But Alanna  doesn’t want to become a “lady” or learn more in the art of magic; in fact, she’s a little afraid of it. Thom, her twin, would much rather be a mage than a knight. So Alanna chops off her hair and switches places with her brother. Full of intrigue, guile, and perseverance, Alanna purses her dream to become a lady knight. —Chantalle Uzan, Francis Martin

    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch will be my cue to engage with a fellow traveler on the strange seas. I’m always down for gentlemen thieves, witty repartee and writing with a mordant sense of humor. —Joshua Soule, Spuyten Duyvil

    If I saw any of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books on your shelves, I would know I have found my realist bud. We knew Santa wasn’t real and the Easter Bunny didn’t exist. We knew where the money from our baby teeth came from - not the tooth fairy. We could talk for hours about fairy tales as they was originally told, not the Disneyified ones. People might say we grew up too early, but I like to think we caught on at just the right time. —Susen Shi, Mid-Manhattan


    Jessica, Administration
    Maura, Volunteer Office
    Laura, Grand Central
    Christopher, Administration


    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson for sure! This book made me laugh out loud so many times on the train, I am definitely deemed THAT crazy person to the regulars. If I see this on your shelf, I’m going to immediately start reeling off my favorite anecdotes. —Jessica DiVisconte, Library Administration 

    Jessica, we should talk because I know I can be friends with anyone who has Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson on their shelves. It means I can invite you to one of my family’s holiday get-togethers and their eccentricities and overall weirdness won’t freak you out! And, the next day we can laugh uproariously over their antics. —Maura Muller, Volunteer Office

    Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Cathcart and Daniel Klein would indicate that the person who owns this book is curious about the world and willing to engage in deep, rambling conversations, but unwilling to do so without a heavy dose of groan-worthy jokes. —Laura Stein, Grand Central

    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore. I love Moore’s twisted and irreverent sense of humor, delivered in wise-cracking dialogue and engaging plot twists. I can get away with not watching so much TV because Moore and authors like him write entertaining books. —Christopher Platt, Library Administration


    Crystal, Muhlenberg
    Jordan, MyLibraryNYC
    Katrina, Hamilton Grange

    Mysteries/Detective Stories

    Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest is one of my favorites and perfect for readers who like their mysteries nice and pulpy. You get extra BFF points if, like me, you bought the book thinking the “red harvest” referred to mid-century farming (I was wrong; so very, very wrong). —Crystal Chen, Muhlenberg

    If Harriet the Spy is on your shelf, I’ll share a tomato sandwich with you any time!  A cast of fascinating characters led by the inquisitive Harriet M. Welsch brings me back for frequent rereads.  As if that weren’t enough, the scene where Harriet practices being an onion for the school recital never gets old. —Jordan Graham, MyLibraryNYC

    If I see Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody on your bookshelf, I will corner you and discuss all of the ridiculously great aspects of the book, including how amazingly Racculia broke down the emotion that a listener feels when hearing The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight”, which is a totally accurate description. —Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange


    how to talk
    Kathie, Rare Materials
    Andrea, Kingsbridge
    Joe, Grand Central






    Books, Movies, Art, & Sports

    If I were to see Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read on your shelves, I would know we should become bosom friends. How could we ever run out of topics of conversation, with all those endless libraries full of books neither of us has read to talk about? Bonus points if you have the work in the original French (Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus?). —Kathie Coblentz, Rare Materials

    If you own a copy of I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie by Roger Ebert, we should probably be friends because we have so many things in common.  We enjoy great writing, bad movies, subjecting our friends and loved ones to those bad movies, and laughing out loud…often at the expense of those friends and loved ones! —Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

    If you have AmphigoreyEdward Gorey’s eerie, funny, moody, perverse collection of ersatz Victorian illustrated tales—on your shelf, we will probably be friends. Well, maybe we won’t be friends, but we’ll know where we stand with each other. —David Nochimson, Pelham Parkway-Van Nest

    Baseball FAQ by Tom DeMichael because baseball is my bae: Baseball Ahead o’ Everything. —Joe Pascullo, Grand Central


    Gwen, Readers Services
    Caitlyn, Programming
    Rebecca, 67th Street
    Sandra, BookOps

    Adult Fiction

    Don Chaon’s Await Your Reply. It’s a thinky thriller with a huge twist and a sense of doom that pervades every page. It’s unconventional and not for everyone—which is exactly why I want to be friends with the people it IS for. —Gwen Glazer, Readers Services

    In her quiet book Among Other Things I’ve Taken Up Smoking, Aoibheann (pronounced “Even”) Sweeney writes Miranda’s story. Miranda grows up in Maine accompanied only by her father, who translates Ovid’s Metamorphoses for a living. When she graduates and moves to New York City she falls madly in love with a woman and discovers a messiness that complements the solitude she has always known. If this is on your shelf, we should probably go get a glass of wine and talk about it. —Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Young Adult Programming

    She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb hits me right in the feels every time I read it. Dolores Price suffers a broad spectrum of hurts, including her parents’ divorce, sexual abuse, obesity, depression, and the horror that is preppy sorority girls. Even at her lowest points, her dry wit, tangible yearning to be loved, and a motley cast of a support network keep her going.  You will be rooting for her to succeed and I dare you not to shed a tear or two. —Rebecca Dash Donsky, 67th Street

    If you have The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, then I will feel like we will be besties! The circus arrives without warning and is only open at night. Where patrons are excited to be part of the magical world, this wondrous spectacle is more than what meets the eye. The circus is the battleground in this fantastical story where two star crossed lovers who must battle each other…and only one can be left standing. —Sandra Farag, BookOps


    Gretchen, Human Resources
    Nancy, Jefferson Market
    Susie, Mulberry Street

    Philosophy & Poetry

    I can be friends with anyone who has Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Timeon their shelf, especially if it’s a worn out copy like mine.  It’s the one book I’ve read over and over, because I’m so intrigued by its discussion of what we really know, and why we think we know that. —Gretchen Smith, Human Resources

    Spotting a volume of Jorge Borges’ fiction or nonfiction on someone else’s shelf is a sure sign I’ve met a fellow humanist with a sense of humor who will be down to talk in circles with me for hours on end.  —Nancy Aravecz, Jefferson Market

    I know I’ve found a kindred spirit when I see poetry on a bookshelf, especially collections by Ted Kooser and Linda Pastan, my favorite favorites. Here's “Pocket Poem” by Ted Kooser:

    If this comes creased and creased again and soiled
    as if I’d opened it a thousand times
    to see if what I’d written here was right,
    it’s all because I looked for you too long
    to put it in your pocket.  Midnight says
    the little gifts of loneliness come wrapped
    by nervous fingers.  What I wanted this
    to say was that I want to be so close
    that when you find it, it is warm from me.

    —Susie Heimbach, Mulberry Street


    wolf hall
    Jennifer, Mulberry Street
    Anne, Mulberry Street

    Time-Traveling Fiction

    If I saw L.M. Montgomery’s Blue Castle on your bookshelf, I’d like that we would both take risks and take the road less traveled, and that would make all the difference. —Ruth Guerrier-Pierre, Kips Bay

    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It has proven to be a rather polarizing book; people seem to either love it or hate it, and I am solidly in the Love It camp. Her style is detailed and eloquent, while the perspective is a bit unusual and challenging. —Jennifer Craft, Mulberry Street

    If you have I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith on your shelf, than I can safely assume that we are completely simpatico. It’s the story of a girl and her eccentric family living in genteel poverty in a crumbling castle in 1930s England. It has everything an Anglophile and romance reader like myself could want: a smart, journal-writing heroine, a hot stable boy, rainy days in the English countryside, shopping trips to London, rich Americans, as well as wit and charm. If these plot points appeal to you then email me because I love you already. —Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street


    Lyndsie, Chatham Square
    Ronni, Morningside Heights
    Dawn, West Farms
    Allie, Chatham Square



    You have This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers on your shelf? Not only am I going to assume that you, too, may be feeding Marcel the moose, but I’m also going to assume that now we’re besties. —Lyndsie Guy, Chatham Square

    E.L. Konigsburg’s The View From Saturday. In my early years as a children’s librarian, this is the first book that I correctly predicted would win the Newbery.  It’s a wonderful story about a group of misfits on a 6th grade academic bowl team, and the insightful teacher who brings them together. This was a somewhat controversial winner, so if you love it enough to own it, as I do, then we must be on the same wavelength! —Ronni Krasnow, Morningside Heights

    From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg. The mystery, the research, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all lead me to want to be a librarian here in NYC. To this day I view the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a safe haven. I have gone there when I was happy but more importantly when I was sad. The art and architecture seems to work like a soothing blanket for me. —Dawn Collins, West Farms

    I think if I saw any of Leo Lionni’s original stories, likeFrederick, Matthew’s Dream, or Geraldine the Music Mouse, especially if it were an adult, we would be kindred spirits. The splendor of art and the need to explore new sensations mixed with sweet, empathetic mice characters is something I will always remember from these childhood favorites. —Alessandro Affinito, Chatham Square

    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    I just missed one of my favorite Big Apple book events: The New York City Book Awards. They are hosted by the New York Society Library, a well-stocked subscription library where my husband Don, a retired English professor, and I are members—and where, for years, Don has run reading groups that tackle the classics with gusto.

    I’ve enjoyed previous awards evenings at the NYSL, a venerable institution which has the distinction of being not just the oldest library but the oldest cultural institution in New York City. I had to forego the festivities this year, because the Science, Industry and Business Library, like the New York Book City Awards itself, marked its 20-year anniversary and thus the first week in May found me otherwise engaged. From all reports, the 2016 NYC Book Awards was a warm and celebratory gathering of readers much like the one that had so charmed me four years ago.

    As its name suggests, the New York City Book Awards recognizes books that evoke the spirit or enhance the appreciation of New York City and that range across genres—biography, fiction, history, memoir, policy analysis, pictorial compendia.

    Prince of Darkness

    Full disclosure here—I’ve not yet read these books. But I trust the judgment of the NYC Books Awards jury and want to highlight their selections. When I saw the list of winners, the first to catch my eye (perhaps because of my current Hamilton fixation?) was Prince of Darkness: the Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, a biography of Wall’s Street’s first African American financier.

    Next, One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New Yorkjumped out at me. Then I realized why. Two years ago, the New York City Book Award nod went to Black Gotham by Carla Peterson, whom I was delighted to meet up with again at the 2015 Awards fête. After Dr. Peterson shared with me her decade-long experience researching this history at The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Black Culture and as a Fellow at NYPL's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, I nominated her for the Research Advisory Committee where she now serves. Just the kind of connection that I love!

    City on a Grid

    The third winning title, City on a Grid: How New York Became New York resonated with me after a week of assuring our West coast visitors that they'd never get lost if they pictured New York on a grid. For a minute I wondered if this was the book catalog from the marvelous 2012 exhibition, The Greatest Grid, at the Museum of the City of New York. (It’s not.) Instead, the author has produced a narrative with a cast of colorful characters and lively anecdotes. Funnily enough, another 2015 winner Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008, is the book catalog of a show at Hartford Connecticut's Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art.

    Coney Island

    The NYSL Awards jury extended special recognition to two authors for their cumulative body of work. My sports page–skimming friends, hearing that Boys of Summer author Rogell Angell was honored, were sorry to have missed meeting the celebrated sports writer. So too were fans of Vivian Gornick, the other lifetime achievement awardee. Both Angell and Gornick published memoirs in 2015 with eerily parallel titles: This Old Man: All in Pieces and The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir.

    Reading Publics

    Of special interest to me as an NYPL research library director was the winner of the Hornblower Award, an outstanding work that is a first book: Reading Publics: New York City’s Public Libraries, 1754-1911.

    Author Tom Glynn (Rutgers University) has told a “vivid story” that chronicles roughly 150 years of public and private reading trends right up to the year that the iconic New York Public Library flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street opened. In a recent online interview I see that Glynn reminds readers to support the NYPL’s research libraries—surely an authorial stance with which I cannot argue.

    The New York Society Library will display the book winners through the end of May. I’m delighted to report that multiple copies of all of the 2015 New York City Award winning titles mentioned in this post are available for borrowing at the New York Public Library which, I should add, hosts its own book award events. The Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism will be presented on May 19 to one of five finalists, including two who will be talking about their book projects at NYPL on May 9 and May 16. Come meet them if you have a chance or just stay tuned for the Bernstein Award announcement.

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    Long Island Rail Road Station - Crowd outside of train
    Long Island Rail Road Station, c. 1939-40. Image ID: 1677161

    “A Commuter—
    One who spends his life
    In riding a train to and from his wife.
    A man who shaves and takes a train
    And then rides back to shave again.” —Newsday, January 17, 1941

    Each weekday, hundreds of thousands of commuters saturate New York City’s already crowded streets. Facing more incoming commuters than any other county in the country, Manhattan’s population nearly doubles each day with swells of travelers from the outer boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut, and beyond.

    The Daily Evening Rush Of Suburbanites And Travelers For The Cortlandt Street Ferry, Pennsylvania Railroad.
    The daily evening rush of suburbanites and travelers for the Cortlandt Street Ferry, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1899. Image ID: 809471

    “Desirable Living”

    New-York Tribune, May 28, 1916
    Three-month commutation ticket between Paterson and Jersey City, NJ, New-York Tribune, May 28, 1916

    New York’s commuter culture began with the country’s first suburb: Brooklyn Heights. Between 1815 and 1835, regular steam ferry service to Manhattan transformed Brooklyn from a rural village to a middle class community. By 1860, these ferries carried 100,000 passengers across the East River to work every day.

    “Come live in Brooklyn where there is a plenteous supply of sunlight and fresh air, where there is no crowding or congestion, where the transit facilities are excellent, where the rents are comparatively low, where there are many parks, schools, and churches, and where the home life is really worth living.” Live in Brooklyn, the Home Borough, 1911

    New-York Tribune, October 6, 1901
    New-York Tribune, October 6, 1901

    The development of railroads had an even greater effect on suburbanization. Beginning in 1832, railroad service gradually expanded in the New York area, reaching sections of Westchester, Queens, New Jersey, and Connecticut over the next few decades. Commuting from the suburbs to the city truly became feasible by the late 1850s, when travel times from towns such as Newtown, Maspeth, and Flushing, Queens, and South Orange, New Jersey were down to less than an hour—ferry transfer included (Encyclopedia of NYC).

    Rural Retreats

    Harper's Weekly, August 5, 1893
    Harper's Weekly, August 5, 1893

    “Suppose we try living in the country this summer? The suggestion fell upon willing ears, and visions of green fields, swaying foliage, and fragrant rose bushes danced merrily about…” New York Times, July 6, 1890

    Many of New York’s first commuters were summer suburbanites seeking “rural retreats away from the wearying din and unwholesome excitement of city life” (Huguenot Park). Whether searching for a summer country home or a permanent suburban residence, prospective home seekers had many relocation options to speculate.

    Suburban homes on the New York Central lines, 1917
    Suburban homes on the New York Central lines, 1917

    By 1900, New York City was surrounded by more suburbs than anywhere in the world (Encyclopedia of NYC). Railroad companies and real estate developers encouraged increasing numbers of New Yorkers to move away from the city, boasting less noise and congestion, lower costs, quick and comfortable train rides, more light, fresh air, and healthfulness, and even more births than deaths.

    Promoting the possibilities of an idealistic country lifestyle, many suburb guides and advertisements offered would-be commuters practical information for relocating such as details on new real estate developments, communities along train lines, and descriptions of towns and their amenities. Some of these early twentieth century train schedules quite interestingly reveal suburb-to-city travel times that are shorter or very similar to today. Perhaps there is not much hope for commuting times to improve over the next hundred years.

    Commuter Culture

    While living in the country and working in the city may seem ideal to some, a daily railroad trek poses challenges only truly understood by commuters themselves. Late trains, crowds, fare increases: commuters have been complaining about the same problems since the late 1800s.

    New York Herald Tribune, February 17, 1946
    New York Herald Tribune, February 17, 1946

    “Men stopped at the station newsstands, bought a paper and glanced at the 'Fare Increase' headlines, then wordlessly resumed their sprints towards the tracks.” Newsday, January 6, 1972

    Historical newspapers are filled with accounts of commuter struggles: checking tickets too often, broken trains, signal problems, wrong turns, unauthorized vehicle on tracks, and my personal favorite: held indefinitely. Train frustrations even once prompted intentions of establishing an air commuting service for the New York area.

    “The range of excuses for getting to the office late is quite limited for a Manhattan dweller, but he who commutes can always describe the terrific snowfall in Jersey, washouts, wrecks, landslides and all the delay-causing accidents in the calendar. The employer may growl and suggest that you ought to have started for the office a day in advance, but knows you are telling the truth, or at least an approximation to it.” New-York Tribune, February 16, 1908

    Regardless of the time period, each generation of commuters has faced their own (surprisingly similar) struggles. These unrivaled experiences have established New York suburb-to-city commuting as a lifestyle completely its own.

    “Exhausted, I eat a late dinner and try to unwind a bit before falling asleep… then it’s time to get up and do it all over again.” Exit 8A: Tales of a New York Commuter

    Penn Station rush hour, Change at Jamaica a commuter's guide to survival
    Rush hour at Penn Station, Change at Jamaica; a commuter's guide to survival, 1957

    Related Resources

    Also explore NYC commuter experiences through articles in newspapers and periodicals via the databases Proquest Historical Newspapers, America's Historical Newspapers, HarpWeek, and American Periodicals (1740-1940). See this list for more resources.

    Copic strip of catching a train in a modern terminal, New-York Tribune, June 30, 1915
    New-York Tribune, June 30, 1915

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    Music For Moderns: The Partnership of George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian, a forthcoming exhibition at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, tells the story of two remarkable figures in American music.

    George Avakian is a former music producer and manager who helped redefine the recording industry of the mid-twentieth century while ushering to the world an enormous variety of popular and artistic music. Over a sixty year career, he produced some of the greatest recordings ever made, including landmark albums by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Benny Goodman, Charles Lloyd, and Keith Jarrett. His clients among popular singers were no less remarkable and included Johnny Mathis, Edith Piaf, and Doris Day. 

    Avakian's accomplishments behind the scenes, however, were just as important: his work on the first jazz reissue program on Columbia Records effectively established the “jazz canon,” or the corpus of key early recordings of jazz from the 1920s and early 1930s that came to be regarded as definitive; he was at the forefront of the technical shift from 78 rpm singles to the 33⅓ long playing album, a transition that triggered a massive expansion of the recording industry; and he worked tirelessly on behalf of musical exchange between the United States and the former Soviet Union, efforts for which he received recognition and high honors from both nations.  

    George Avakian in Tbilisi, 1962.
    This photograph of Avakian was taken in Tbilisi, the capitol of then-Soviet Georgia, during Benny Goodman's 1962 tour of the Soviet Union, the first of the country by an American jazz band. Avakian initiated the tour, which paved the way for future visits to Russia by other musicians. Image ID: 5404618

    Anahid Ajemian, who married Avakian in 1948, is a former violinist who dedicated her career to the performance, recording, and promotion of new music. As a soloist; in a duo with her sister, the pianist Maro Ajemian; and as a founding member of the Composers String Quartet, she was responsible for the premieres, the first recordings, or the commissioning of new compositions by some of the giants of twentieth century music, including John Cage, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness, Milton Babbitt, and Elliott Carter.

    Maro and Anahid Ajemian
    This is one of the earliest promotional photographs of Maro and Anahid Ajemian, taken around 1948. Their solo careers were well underway by this time, and as a duo they fearlessly explored both traditional and contemporary repertoire. Image ID: 5649312

    Music For Moderns: The Partnership of George Avakian and Anahid Ajemian will explore the careers of these unique figures and their work with of some of the most important artists of the twentieth century. It will also explore the ways in which their careers overlapped and informed each other. Future blog posts for this exhibition will discuss specific episodes in their careers, as well as particular artists and their associations with Avakian or Ajemian (or both). The exhibition opens on June 21.

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  • 05/11/16--06:49: Happy Birthday, Dalí!
  • Dalí, an ocelot, his cane, and his mustache. Image via wikimedia.

    "I don't do drugs. I am drugs"

    Happy Birthday, Salvador Dalí! In celebration of the artist, who was born on this day in 1904, we're taking a look at the most surreal facial hair in Digital Collections

    1. Henrik Ibsen

    Henrik Ibsen and his whiskers. Image ID: TH-22404


    2.  Jack Burdock

    Jack Burdock
    A perfectly coiffed 'stache. Image ID: 55691


    3. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Arthur Conan Doyle
    Those points! I always imagined Sherlock Holmes to have a fantastic mustache. Image ID: 1223827

    4. Robert Louis Stevenson

    Robert L. Stevenson
    Chilling with his 'stache and cigarette. Image ID: 484059

    5. Mark Twain

    Mark Twain
    "Be good and you will be lonesome." Image ID: 100707


    6. Rudyard Kipling 

    Rudyard Kipling
    Elephants, tigers, and mustaches, oh my! Image ID: 1549654


    7. General Pollenberg

    General Pollenberg
    Militaristic facial hair for the win. Image ID: 1816892


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    After coming to the United States in 2014, Yerfi Saldana found that his limited English skills were holding him back, both professionally and personally. Promising his son that he would do whatever it took to learn English, Yerfi called a friend, who told him, “Go to the Library.” Now, with the help of NYPL’s free ESOL classes, Yerfi feels confident in an English-speaking world — at work, at home, and throughout the vast city of New York.

    Library Stories is a video series from The New York Public Library that shows what the Library means to our users, staff, donors, and communities through moving personal interviews.

    Like, share, and watch more Library Stories on Facebook or YouTube.


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    2016 is serving up a feast of new YA fiction. Here are a few titles NYPL staff recommend, and here are a few more. 


    Rebel of the Sands

    Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

    Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies.

    Fantasy, multiple persepectives, strong female characters.

    Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

    Amani uses her sharpshooting skills to escape a dead-end town. Along the way, she meets a mysterious deserter from the Sultan’s army.

    Fantasy, world-building, romantic.

    Historical Fiction

    Front Lines
    Salt to the Sea
    Up From the Sea


    Front Linesby Michael Grant

    An epic reimagining of WWII with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

    Alternative history, multiple perspectives, gruesome, thought-provoking.

    Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

    Four narrators attempting to escape catastrophe and other adversities in 1945 Europe.

    Historical fiction, multiple perspectives, character-driven, haunting.

    Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

    A novel in verse about the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

    Novel in verse, realistic fiction, culturally diverse, character-driven.

    Realistic Fiction

    The Loose Ends List
    Fifteen Lanes


    The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

    Maddie and her zany family accompany their grandmother on a “death with dignity” cruise.

    Realistic fiction, character-driven, social issues

    Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw

    Noor grew up in a brutal Mumbai brothel. Grace lives a life of privilege. When their paths intersect, everything changes for both girls.

    Realistic fiction, multiple perspectives.

    Realistic Fiction (dealing with rape)

    Asking For It
    The Way I Used To Be
    Exit, Pursued by a Bear


    Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

    Emma O’Donovan is found beaten and bleeding and with no memory of the night before. Photos show up online and an investigation tears a small Irish town apart.

    Realistic fiction, character-driven, issues oriented.

    The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

    Fourteen-year-old Eden is raped by her brother’s best friend.

    Realistic fiction, character-driven, issues-oriented.

    Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston

    Hermione is drugged and raped, but she cannot remember who did it. Add to this rumors and rejection and an unexpected discovery about her best friend.

    Realistic fiction, Shakespeare-inspired fiction, strong female characters

    Comics & Graphic Novels

    Paper Girls


    Paper Girlsby Brian K. Vaughan

    The early morning hours after Halloween 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls collide with a supernatural mystery.

    Comics/graphic novel, science fiction, nostalgic, sardonic.

    Orangeby Ichigo Takano

    Takamiya receives a letter from her future-self telling her to keep an eye on the new student in class.

    Comics/graphic novel, fantasy, Manga.

    LGBTQ Fiction

    If I Was Your Girl
    You Know Me Well

    If I Was Your Girlby Meredith Russo

    Amanda starts a new school with a big secret.

    LGBTQ fiction, realistic fiction, character-driven.

    You Know Me Wellby David Levithan and Nina Lacour

    Mark and Kate sat next to each other for an entire year and never spoke. In one night, they will know each other better than anyone else knows them.

    LGBTQ fiction, character-driven.


    Dig Too Deep

    Dig Too Deepby Amy Allgeyer

    Liberty Briscoe moves from the city to a small town in Kentucky and suspects there is something wrong with the drinking water, uncovering corruption among those in charge of testing it.

    Ecofiction, realistic fiction, strong female character.

    Rescued by Eliot Schrefer

    John has been living with an Indonesian orangutan since he was ten and the orangutan was a baby. Years later when his parents divorce, his father sells John’s adopted brother (the orangutan) to a zoo. John cannot let this stand.

    Ecofiction, first person narratives, melancholy, bittersweet.

    Mystery & Suspense Fiction

    A Study In Charlotte
    Girl In the Blue Coat


    A Study in Charlotte: A Charlotte Holmes Novelby Brittany Cavallaro

    Charlotte and Jamie are descendants of Holmes and Watson and the apple does not fall far from the tree. A murder mystery set in a Connecticut boarding school.

    Classics-inspired fiction, mysteries, plot-driven.

    Girl in the Blue Coatby Monica Hesse

    Set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Amstedam, Hanneke, a finder of black market goods, is hired to  find a Jewish girl who has mysteriously disappeared.

    Historical fiction, suspenseful.

    Dark Humor

    Kill the Boy Band








    Kill the Boy Bandby Goldy Moldavsky

    Four fan girls take things a bit too far.

    First person narrative, realistic fiction, unreliable narrator, dark humor.

    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!




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    Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte. Schomburg Center Photographs and Prints Division

    As we celebrate the 56th anniversary of South African singer/songwriter Miriam Makeba’s self-titled debut album on May 11, Alicia Perez, Schomburg Communications Pre-Professional, reflects on her inspiring life and music career.

    For over half a century, the world has embraced international hits like “Mbube (The Lion Sleeps Tonight),” “Olilili,” and “Where Does It Lead” from songstress Miriam Makeba (born Zenzile Miriam Makeba). Often called Harry Belafonte’s protégé or Mama Africa, Makeba made her debut in the United States on TheSteve Allen Show in November 1959, after starring in the internationally recognized anti-apartheid documentary Comeback, Africa, and the South African musical King Kong.

    One of the most moving things about Makeba’s music is her ability to turn a painful theme into a uplifting tune, like “The Retreat Song,” which opens her iconic 1960 self-titled debut album, about a Xosa warrior's defeat. “The Click Song,” “Nomeva,” and “Saduva” are also rooted in Xosa beats, but Makeba’s musical range is expansive. “Suliram” is an Indonesian lullaby, and “One More Dance” is an Austrian tune about a satirical battle of the sexes. Belafonte once described her music as “…strangely powerful, a startling blend of the highly sophisticated and the primitive." In the decades following her debut, Makeba continued to inspire and influence a number of artists—from Nina Simone to Miles Davis—while uplifting the citizens of South Africa during Apartheid-era South Africa.

    Though she faced great challenges throughout her whole life—apartheid, breast cancer, a teenage pregnancy, being exiled from her own home, and losing her 35-year-old daughter—her music remained upbeat and her performances consistently enchanted her audiences. When the album was released in 1960, just after Makeba became acquainted with Belafonte and his wife at the time, Julia Robinson, her life was rife with uncertainty and a sense of insecurity. However, Makeba’s 2004 autobiography, Makeba: the Miriam Makeba Story, housed here in our Jean Blackwell Hudson Research and Reference Division, tells the story of a resilient woman:

     “I have had great times and I’ve had difficulties. I have had mountains put in front of me but I climb and I get up. I always said ‘Fine, Makeba, if you go down and you fall, if the ground opens up and covers you that is that! But if you go down and the earth doesn’t cover you up—you must come up again!’ And I did.”

    For those interested in bringing more of Makeba's music into their lives, visit our Jean Blackwell Hudson Research and Reference Division where you will find The World of African Song, a book of her sheet music. 

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    Volunteer reading to girl, via Wikipedia
    Girl Reading, via Flickr

    Join your fellow readers across the country for the second annual National Readathon Day on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Here are a few shorter-form recommendations:

    Short Stories


    Young Adult

    Graphic Novels



    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!

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    Edward Lear drawing
    In addition to writing limericks and other literary nonsense, Edward Lear was an accomplished artist. See his bird drawings in our Digital Collections.


    Happy Limerick Day! This day is celebrated annually on the birthday of Edward Lear, who popularized the limerick with his Book of Nonsense in 1846.

    We asked our NYPL book experts to—you guessed it—write some book-related limericks. We even asked their friends and families to play along.

    But before you read this post, check out our limerick quiz:


    And then check out our complete list of bookish limericks!

    The Five Kings are all a-frothing,
    Jon Snow, dude still knows nothing,
    The Imp is cunning
    And Dany’s running
    While Margaery’s betrothing.

    (A Game of Thrones and the rest of the series by George R.R. Martin)


    There was an American Psycho
    Who, I'm hoping, spoke fake braggadocio.
    But I can't finish his story,
    It's way violent and too gory.
    Read for yourself; you're forewarned, though.

    (American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis)


    Two tramps named Didi and Gogo
    Felt their lives dragging by in slow-mo
    As they chattered, and prated,
    And waited, and waited,
    And waited for no-show Godot.

    (Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett)


    I've fallen in love again:
    Mr. Darcy, Gilbert Blythe and then
    James Fraser's brogue
    Any duke, rake or rogue
    I think books have ruined me for men.


    The young man from the South packed his case
    And moved Harlem-ward seeking his place
    He at last understood
    Why it all was no good
    Can't you see him? He's in front of your face!

    (Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison)


    The Mad Hatter called to Tweedle Dee,
    "Let's have dear Alice over for tea."
    She became so small,
    to fit down the hall,
    And all but the queen met her gleefully.

    (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)


    There was a young lady from France
    Who looked at her husband askance
    After quite an affair
    With a gent debonair
    She ended up in death's hands.

    (Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert)


    Through dry dunes he trudged with butterfly net
    Fell in with a widow and the trap was set
    When they drew up the ladder
    It just made him madder
    That is until the raven trap turned wet

    (Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abé)


    There was a girl with hair of blue
    Her friends knew her as Karou
    Collected teeth all day
    To stave off a fray
    But little did she know, she would lead a coup

    (Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor)


    A friendship between two angst-y teens,
    leads to some complicated scenes.
    They laugh, they cry,
    they watch the sky
    As they find out that they are both Queens

    (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz)


    They claimed him a monster, a mad-king
    She went to keep maidens from dying
    Her stories soothed his heart
    Curses could not keep them apart
    Is their love worth saving?

    (The Rose and the Dagger, sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh or its older version, The Arabian Nights)


    There once was a family went walking
    The Mom and the brother both balking
    But the girl lost her way
    Staying out of the fray
    And promptly was victim of stalking

    (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King)


    A bright green light glows past the bay
    Causing Jay Gatsby to frown and say
    Are my shirts not enough
    To stave off a rebuff?
    So close and yet so far away

    (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)


    There once was a girl of mind keen
    Who ran away with the wind green
    Through land of the fay
    She ventured all day
    And with her friends toppled a queen.

    (The Girl Who Circumnavigated the Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente)


    There once was an orphan named Jane
    Who loved with her whole heart in vain
    They thought her a mouse
    Until she left Rochester's house
    But came back to heal his pain

    (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)


    A squirrel got caught in a vacuum,
    Oh, how awful! Is what you'd assume.
    But through through fortune or fate,
    He gained powers of great!
    And now all he needs is a costume! 

    (Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo)


    Mr. Bloom went out to wander
    Dublin's streets, the beach, and yonder
    At the end of the day
    Molly had her own say
    An odyssey for all to ponder

    (Ulysses by James Joyce)


    Hickory, dickory, dock
    There's an "A" upon her frock
    Young Hester Prynne
    Committed a sin
    And sent the whole town into shock.

    (The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)


    A man made a bet with great flair
    To cross the world by sea, land, and air
    Came home in a haze
    after 80 long days
    And finished with moments to spare

    (Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne)


    One boring day it was raining
    Two kids just sat there complaining
    Then in came a cat
    wearing a hat
    From mischief there was no refraining

    ((The Cat in The Hat by Dr. Seuss)


    Here are the limericks from the quiz!

    There once was a child of dentists,
    always ready to finish your sentence.
    The class's best witch,
    always good in a glitch:
    Hermione, she is the bestest!

    (The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)


    There once was a man from Nantucket
    A sea captain down on his luck-et
    While hunting for oil
    He lost his mortal coil
    Along with his first mate Starbuck-et

    (Moby Dick by Herman Melville)


    A monomaniacal beast,
    A Brobdingnagian feast.
    There's no need to shudder:
    he's just a cute butter-
    fly, now his sequestering's ceased.

    (The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle)


    There once was a chap Winston Smith.
    For Julia he risked all to be close with.
    Tortured by rats,
    Poor proletariats!
    What a sad world where love is illicit... 

    (1984 by George Orwell)

    Poor Gregor changed into a bug
    And now is a burdensome lug.
    What should we do?
    Let expenses accrue?
    Let him die, father says with a shrug.

    (The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka)


    From Shakespeare, we hear of a thane
    who interrupted his liege lord's reign
    Witches said to proceed
    Lady M took the lead
    But now, trees are attacking his Dunsinane.

    (Macbeth by William Shakespeare)


    All work and no play makes Jack dull.
    All work and no play makes Jack dull.
    Stress is taking its toll.
    Hotel's claiming his soul.
    Plus all work and no play makes Jack dull.   

    (The Shining by Stephen King) 


    From Russia comes a story so dire,
    About Anna --- her heart set afire
    By Vronsky the flirt,
    Who made her desert
    Her husband, now filled with ire.

    (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)

    Thanks to our library staff and their families and friends who wrote these limericks! Nancy Aravecz (Metamorphosis), Leslie Bernstein (men), Kathie Coblentz (Godot), Barbara Cohen-Stratyner (Macbeth), Jessica DiVisconte (Scarlet), Rebecca Donsky (Bovary), Sandra Farag (Daughter), Althea Georges (Girl who Circumnavigated), Gwen Glazer (Invisible Man), Lyndsie Guy (80 Days),  Mina Hong (Anna Karenina), Ronni Krasnow (Cat in the Hat), Emily Lazio (Flora), Christina Lebec (The Shining), Suzanne Lipkin (Ulysses), Sherry Machlin (1984), Meredith Mann (Moby Dick), Jeremy Megraw (Woman in the Dunes), Kay Menick (Harry Potter), Emily Merlino (Gatsby), Alexander Mouyios (Aristotle), Maura Muller (Tom Gordon),  Katrina Ortega (American Psycho), Jenny Rosenoff (Alice), Jill Rothstein (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Anne Rouyer (Jane), Joshua Soule (Game), and Chantalle Uzan (Rose).

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    Welcome to The Librarian Is In, the New York Public Library's podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.

    Along with Susen Shi from Mid-Manhattan Library, Frank and Gwen reveal their librarianship origin stories on this week's episode. Plus: Self-help books, plays in print, and the legacy of the Indigo Girls.

    No real relevance here; this is just the best gif ever.

    What We're Reading Now

    Rate us on iTunes!

    Malcolm Gladwell

    The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    The Fireman by Joe Hill

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    Sarah Ruhl:

    Still image from video of reading of "The Oldest Boy" at the Lincoln Center Theater
    A still from the reading of The Oldest Boy at the Lincoln Center Theater (image via Lincoln Center Theater YouTube channel)


    Katy and the Big Snowand Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

    Faux-Werner Herzog reading Mike Mulligan

    Guest Star

    Susen, in the lower left corner

    Seward Park Library

    Beverly Cleary

    NYPL's Immigrant Services and Correctional Services

    Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

    Dover edition fairy tales

    The Passage by Justin Cronin

    Justin Kirk! Oh right.

    Word of the Week Anything but Books

    Frank:  library as public space

    Susen:  Broadchurch

    Gwen:  Indigo Girls

    Thanks for listening! Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Could we convince you to do it now?

    Find us online @NYPLRecommends, the Bibliofile blog, and Or email us at!

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    One Sentence Stories

    Right now, New York City leaders are trying to decide how much funding to give libraries next year. To meet rising demands, libraries are hoping to have their budgets restored to 2008 levels. City leaders will make this decision based on hearing from folks like you.

    That's why we've been asked New Yorkers to tell us in one sentence why they love the library or how it has impacted their lifeand 2,000 New Yorkers have already written sentences! Some have been funny, some have been heartwarming, but all have shown the many ways public libraries serve an important role in communities all over New York City.

    It was hard to narrow it down, but we pulled a few of our favorite stories to share with you, and hope you'll read the rest and submit your own!

    Do you have a one sentence library story to share? Submit your sentence here!

    Want to see the rest of the submissions? Read them here, below the submission form!

    "I was lucky enough to have a public library stocked with books on the craft of comics; had I not discovered those books, I never would've had the knowledge of how to pursue a career in cartooning." - Jeff Kinney, Author, Diary of A Wimpy Kid
    "I met my loving wife in the Rose Reading Room 27 years ago this June." - Stephen, Manhattan
    "The NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, accepted memorabilia of my Mother's dance career that would have otherwise been discarded which gave me much peace of mind and joy that she would be remembered and that her piece of dance history would be shared with others 'forever'." - Roberta, Library for the Perfoming Arts
    "Crime and Punishment was the first grownup book I ever checked out of the library as a teenager; now I have a PhD in Russian Literature." - Nancy, Bloomingdale
    "My soul is happy when I go to the library, sometimes I just enter to see books... being there is enough to make me feel good, complete." - Maria, Queens & Manhattan
    "Although I am poor, with the New York Public Library I have access to a better library than a Renaissance prince." - Steve, Mulberry Street
    "It's the BEST place to be bored!" - Judy, Manhattan
    "Imagine if zombies needed not blood but books to read and libraries to plunder lest they expire forever: that's how crucial the new york public library has been for me ever since my first visits to the children's room so many years and so many pages ago." - Joanna, Jefferson Market
    "Growing up in a family where there wasn't much money to buy anything other than necessary schoolbooks, the library gave me a magical entry into new worlds, cultures and ideas to fuel my imagination and inspire me to explore topics I would have never known existed." - Linda, Manhattan
    "As an early-30 years-old orphaned-adult, I found my entire Family History at the NYPL at 42nd Street, in the 1980's, and altered the course of my life forever." - Terence, 42nd Street Branch, Manhattan
    "Multiple books, borrowed from multiple libraries around the world, are my real education: libraries are the true educators!" - Vatsala, Manhattan/New York City
    "From walking up the steps of the bookmobile at age four to perusing the shelves at age 70 the public library has always been an important part of my life." - Jeff, Brooklyn

    Feeling inspired to submit your own library story? Submit your one sentence now!

    One Sentence Stories

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